Can Probiotics Help Prevent and Treat Colon Cancer

Updated on June 9, 2021

Recent studies have been looking at the potential of using probiotics to prevent and treat various types of cancers. Doctors have particularly had an interest in colorectal cancer that’s related to inflammatory bowel disease.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are living yeasts and bacteria that can benefit your health in many ways. They are found inside the digestive system, certain types of foods, and supplements. 

Although most people believe that probiotics exist only in the intestines and stomach, they are also found in the gut.

Probiotic supplements and foods have gained popularity in the recent past because of the health benefits associated with them. Many people take probiotics with the hope of creating a balance of harmful and good bacteria in their bodies.

About colon cancer

According to the latest information from the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer or cancer of the colon is among the top three most diagnosed types of cancer in the United States. Besides, deaths associated with colon cancer are also projected to increase in the coming years.

Various studies have revealed that some of the major causes of colorectal cancer included the previous diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, smoking, genetic factors, high body mass index, and lack of physical activity.

Probiotics and colon cancer

Some recent studies suggest that the microbiome found in the gut plays a primary role in developing colon cancer. 

But there is not strong evidence to back up those claims. Some researchers believe that probiotics can be used to influence the microbiome to prevent tumor formation.

How probiotics reduce tumor formation?

In a study that is still ongoing on mice, it was discovered that that the lack of an enzyme known as histidine decarboxylase (HDC) significantly made the animals susceptible to acquiring colon cancer related to inflammation of the bowels.

HDC is usually formed by L. reuteri and is responsible for converting L-histidine to histamine – an organic compound that regulates the immune response in the body.

The mice were given L. reuteri before and after the induction of tumor in their bodies via the administration of azoxymethane, DSS, and a carcinogenic chemical.

Fifteen weeks later, scientists examined the gastrointestinal tracts of the mice. They found that the L. reuteri caused a stimulation that led to the production of HDC – something that increased the level of histamine in the colon.

Colon health probiotic treatment

The results from the above studies reveal a significant role of histamine in suppressing chronic intestinal inflammation and the formation of the tumor. Although the evidence is not conclusive, there are high chances that probiotics can be used to treat colon cancer.

Bottom line

Probiotic supplements have gained a lot of popularity across the world. This is attributed to its various health benefits, including the ability to treat colon cancer.

Although several studies are still ongoing, preliminary results indicate a great potential of probiotics treating colorectal cancer. It will be a big relief for many patients suffering from the disease in the United States and across the world.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.